The Writers' Hub has become MIROnline. The site remains for archival purposes but will no longer be updated. Head over to our new website to see weekly short stories, poems and creative non-fiction from Birkbeck and beyond.
writers' hub
MIR  Editors
MIR Editors


Life spins loose and wild in this third issue of The Mechanics’ Institute Review. The construction worker’s terror, the hotel clerk’s lust, a rodent’s revenge, the jilted lover’s compulsion – from Tokyo to Virginia, from Docklands to the Balkans, these tales take you on a tour around some of today’s most enthralling new writing, with original illustrations provided by up-and-coming artists and a preface by Julia Bell.



LISA APPIGNANESI's latest novel is The Memory Man (Arcadia, 2004). Amongst her other fiction are the bestselling The Dead of Winter (Bantam, 1999) and The Things We Do for Love (Harper Collins, 1997). She has recently edited a collection of writings, Free Expression Is No Offence (Penguin, 2005), which arose from the English PEN campaign against religious-hatred legislation. She is currently writing a non-fiction book, Women and the Mind Doctors, for Little, Brown / Virago. Lisa has a doctorate in Comparative Literature, was a founding editor of the publishing company Writers and Readers, and has been awarded a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. She is Deputy President of English PEN.


T. CORAGHESSAN BOYLE is the author of nineteen books of fiction, including, most recently, Talk Talk (2006), Tooth and Claw (2005), The Inner Circle (2004) and Drop City (2003), all first published in the US by Viking. He received a Ph.D. in Nineteenth-Century British Literature from the University of Iowa, and his MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He has been a member of the English Department at the University of Southern California since 1978. His books are available in more than a dozen foreign languages, and his stories have appeared in most major American magazines, including The New Yorker, Harper’s, Esquire, Playboy, and The Paris Review. T. C. Boyle has received numerous literary awards. He lives near Santa Barbara with his wife and three children.


COURTTIA NEWLAND is the author of three critically acclaimed novels, The Scholar (Abacus, 1997), Society Within (Abacus, 1999) and Snakeskin (Abacus, 2002). He has co-edited IC3: The Penguin Book of New Black Writing in Britain (Hamish Hamilton, 2000) and has been published in many anthologies. He has written seven plays, including The Far Side (Tricycle), Mother’s Day (Lyric, Hammersmith) and B Is for Black (Oval House). His latest books are The Dying Wish (Abacus, 2006) and Music for the Off-Key (Peepal Tree Press, 2006). His first radio play, Hands, was recently broadcast on BBC Radio 4.


KATE PULLINGER's books include the novels Weird Sister (Phoenix House, 1999), The Last Time I Saw Jane (Phoenix House, 1996) and Where Does Kissing End? (Serpent’s Tail, 1992), and the short-story collections My Life as a Girl in a Men’s Prison (Phoenix House, 1997) and Tiny Lies (Jonathan Cape, 1988). Her most recent novel is A Little Stranger (Serpent’s Tail, 2006). Kate’s most recent radio play was The Egyptian Collection for BBC Radio 4. Her multimedia online novel, Inanimate Alice, won the first prize for Digital Art 2005, sponsored by the Museum of the Twenty-First Century (MAXXI) in Rome and Fondazione Rosselli. Kate teaches fiction for the MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, is Reader in Creative Writing and New Media at De Montfort University, and is a Royal Literary Fund Fellow. She can be found at


DUBRAVKA UGRESIC was born in Croatia, Yugoslavia in 1949. She has held posts at American and European universities, and her work has been translated into many languages. She is the author of The Ministry of Pain (Saqi Books, 2005), Thank You for Not Reading (Dalkey Archive Press, 2003), The Museum of Unconditional Surrender (Phoenix House, 1998), and The Culture of Lies (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1998). She has received numerous awards and has been compared favourably with Vladimir Nabokov, Joseph Brodsky, Milan Kundera and Virginia Woolf. Dubravka entered self-imposed exile when Croatia’s late president, Franjo Tudjman, proclaimed Croatia to be ‘paradise on earth’ in the early 1990s.



NEIL BAKER is a freelance writer and journalist. His work has been published in Vogue, GQ, the Independent, and The Times, among others. He has just completed the two-year Certificate in Creative Writing at Birkbeck. ‘When the Fat Man Sings’ is his first piece of published fiction.


JOHN BRAIME lives in North London. He is currently working on a novel about an elderly conjuror.


JONATHAN CATHERALL is writing a novel about a man undergoing an operation for a brain tumour whilst awake.


DOROTHY CROSSAN is currently studying for an MA in Creative Writing. In a previous career she worked for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, including a posting in Lagos, Nigeria.


HARRIET FISHER works as a teacher at a large college in North London. She has written mainly short stories but is currently working on her first novel about a young girl, her family, the lies she has come to believe in, and a hot summer. She lives in East London with her husband.


GRAHAME GLADIN has been making his living as a construction worker for the past twenty years. His interest in writing took him back into fulltime education in 2000, where he began scriptwriting for radio and film. He’s currently writing his first novel, Higher Ground, a story about the building of a London skyscraper.


EMMA HENDERSON has worked as a copywriter, a teacher and, for the last six years, as a hotelier in the French Alps. She is currently studying for an MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck, finishing her first novel and working on her second.


CHRISTINE HSU was born in Skokie, Illinois and has a BS in Radio-TVFilm from the University of Texas at Austin. Currently she is working on a collection of short stories.


MARIKO IWASAKI was born in San Francisco. At the age of six she came to live in the UK for five years, during which she picked up the English language and was also first exposed to creative writing. She has worked as a financial journalist for a US newswire company. Read story extract


KAVITA JINDAL has worked in corporate public relations and the arts in England, Hong Kong and India. Her second collection of poetry, Raincheck Renewed, was published by Chameleon Press in 2004. In addition to writing a novel set in India, she is working on short stories, poems and song lyrics.


JAMIE JOSEPH was born in London and studied at the University of Warwick and the University of Tokyo. He has been writing fiction for a number of years and now works in academic publishing. Read story extract


SARAH JANE MARSHALL lives in London writing reports on global health issues for the government. She has worked as a journalist for the Sunday Times and news editor for the United Nations. Her life in Kenya managing a livestock ranch and wildlife reserve provided the inspiration for her first novel. Read story extract


CHRISTINA PAPAMICHAEL was born in Athens and raised in London. She began writing seriously after achieving some measure of success with her freelance work, in particular for the BBC’s disability website Ouch!. Currently working on her first novel, she is nevertheless entranced and inspired by the elegance of short stories.


LAURA PETERS is a twenty-four-year-old English Literature graduate from Margate in Kent. She hopes to start a career in publishing at the end of this year, and is currently writing her first novel – a children’s story, called Mrs Gonzaleeny and the Birdcatcher.


AMY POPOVICH was born and raised in California, residing most recently in San Francisco. She has worked in magazine publishing and graphic design. She is currently working on her first novel, about the globalization of the American Dream and the culture of homeless youths living in Golden Gate Park. Read story extract


ROBERT ROYSTON grew up in Johannesburg and worked there as a journalist and publisher’s editor. He now lives and works in London. He has had a play performed at the Gate Theatre and two stories in The London Magazine. Read story extract


LENYA SAMANIS is currently living in London and is finishing her first novel, Yen.


VICTOR SCHONFELD is a film writer-director-producer whose productions have generated fury and awards internationally. A number of his films (Loving Smacks, It’s a Boy!, Shattered Dreams, The Animals Film) were the pioneering works on their subjects. He is a US/UK dual national completing his MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck. He is currently working on an American thriller novel, set in the world of Ivy League universities.


FRANCA TORRANO is a Creative Writing and BA English student at Birkbeck. She lives and works in London and is currently working on a collection of short stories.


MAGGIE WOMERSLEY was born and brought up in West Sussex but has spent the last four years basking in the urban grittiness of Stepney, East London. She is currently working on a collection of short stories about drunkards and alcoholics.



KIT JILLY DING is currently a BA student in Illustration at Camberwell College of Arts, London.


LUKE HORNUS received a BA Honours in Illustration at Kent Institute of Art and Design. He is working as an illustrator.


PEDRO LINO has an MA, with Distinction, in Illustration from Camberwell College of Arts, London, and a degree in Communication Design from the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Oporto. He works as a freelance designer / illustrator / animator / director.


FADI MIKHAIL is currently a third-year BA student in Fine Art at the Slade School of Fine Art, London.


FLORE NOVE-JOSSERAND is currently completing an MA in Fine Art at the Slade School of Fine Art, London.


ANGELA SVORONOU has an MA in Fine Art from University of East London, an MA in Photography from London College of Communication, and a degree in Painting, with Distinction, from Athens School of Art. Her work has been included in a variety of exhibitions.

Project Director: Julia Bell

Editors: John Braime, Jonathan Catherall, Christine Hsu, Amy Popovich, Laura Peters and Victor Schonfeld



0-9547933-3-1 / 978-0-9547933-3-3



No related pieces


MIR13: Final Call
Hub Editor

MIR13: Call for Submissions
Hub Editor

Dave Wakely